Russian Instrument on LRO Finds High Hydrogen Concentrations in Unexpected Areas

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

(Via Roskosmos based on RAS Institute of Space Reseach press statement)

Russian LEND — Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector – installed on NASA`s LRO -Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter – was switched into active mode on Sept. 15, after LRO reached Lunar 50-km polar orbit, which is to be the operational orbit for the initial stage of the mission.

The goal of this stage is exploration of water resources. LEND neutron registration data will provide the opportunity to build the map of the netron lunar studies with high spatial resolution of 10 km. 

Flight tests of the LEND systems display their nominal status. 

During the first two months LEND detected some areas on the lunar surface which display weak neutron emission, thus indicating high concentration of hydrogen in these zones. These areas do not cover shadowed spots on the bottom of the lunar polar craters. 

The data obtained contradict with the earlier theories about possible location of the high-hydrogen-concentration zones close to the lunar poles. Scientists throught that there were water ice deposits brought by the comets on the lunar surface. 

Thus, LEND data can become the basis for a new research. LEND experiment is led by the RAS Institute of Space Reseach under the contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency.